Beginner's Guide To: Car insurance

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The Independent Online

Where should I shop for my car insurance?

The growing number of comparison websites are a great tool for finding competitive insurance quotes, but it's worth shopping around a few to find the best deal. No one site has every insurer, and some companies, such as Direct Line and Norwich Union, refuse to be quoted on comparison sites. Three of the best for car insurance are, and

Third party or fully comprehensive?

Third party insurance will only cover the other person's costs if you have a crash. If you have an accident and it's your fault – or you don't get the other driver's details – then you won't get anything back. Comprehensive insurance will pay out in all situations, but costs more. You're legally required to have car insurance, but if you've got an old car, it may not be worth paying for anything more than third party. If your car's newer and more expensive, the extra cost is probably well worth it.

How can I lower my insurance premium?

Women tend to pay lower premiums than men, and married couples tend to pay less than non-married. Conversely, young drivers tend to pay very high rates. If you're under 25, it may be worth considering a pay-as-you-go scheme, such as More Than's Drive Time, which helps to lower the cost by monitoring driving habits. Another way to lower your premium is to pay annually rather than monthly, which carries a hefty mark-up. Finally, don't get any speeding tickets. These push your premiums up for several years.

What's wrong with the cheapest policy?

Be careful to compare all the policy details before you decide which insurer to go for. Check how large the excess is – it's often quite high on the cheapest policies. Also, ensure you've entered your details correctly. Any false information could invalidate your whole policy.

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